Gail Kraft: Hey everybody, Gail Kraft here from the Empowering Process Podcast and with me today, is this amazing woman, Emily Aborn and Emily has this company that she runs , She Built This, and there’s such a story around her doing this in the first place and she’s going to share that story and she’s going to talk about pivoting, giving yourself permission, and all about your worthiness as an entrepreneur, as an individual and as a woman.
So welcome Emily, thank you so much for joining me today.
Emily Arborn: Hi, thank you so much for having me I’ve been looking forward to this conversation.
Gail: I know I know so, let’s get started and let’s talk a little bit about you know how you ended up being an entrepreneur. This wasn’t really surprising to you in the first place and then you know things happened where you really needed to change, right?
Emily: Yeah, I mean how far back do you want?
Gail: To go as far as you want to go because I know every year I change.
Emily: I mean to be honest I have wanted to be, like I knew, I wanted to have my own business and be an entrepreneur since I was six and I started, I’m not kidding, I started with neighborhood newspapers and lemonade stands and things like that. It’s just always been a bug inside of me and I spent my 20s really, unsatisfied working for other people because I was so entrepreneurial in the workplace that I just couldn’t fit into all of these molds in working for others.
So finally in 2014 my husband and I decided that we were going to go for it. We were going to open a mattress store and a lot of people think it’s really random and it is really random, I had the background of working for someone else in the same like almost the exact same kind of business, and so I knew the revenue model, I knew the products inside and out, and it aligned with me. I went to school for health, education and sleep and health are obviously very very intertwined. So, I was like this is perfect. This is right up my alley. We’re going to, it’s going to be amazing!
You know, like I had these visions of people just like coming in and out of the store all the time.
Well, when you actually decide to open a mattress store, there’s not a lot of people coming in and out of the store all the time, and also to further kind of impact that, we had a very niche market. It was like very high end. It’s like natural and nontoxic bedding.
So that kind of makes it so that even less people are coming in, right? I’m still very successful, just not at all very satisfying for the kind of person that myself or my husband were.
I’m really happy I went through the process, but it taught us, so much that I went home one day and I was like, “this is awful,” and we thought we were going to be doing this for like the next 30 years, you know, and that’s what I really thought .I was like, wow, we have to deal with this for 30 years and he’s like, “you know, we get to change like we get to make the decisions here and change our mind if this isn’t working.”
It was like light bulb. Awesome. “So, what do we want to do,” you know, and so that’s I guess where it started bringing me to where I am now.
Gail: Right, and there was some, I recall our conversation before you talked about a friend of yours and, a happening with her, which was a wakeup call for you to get moving and do what you want in your in your life, right?
Emily: Yeah, we were so we were actually in process of kind of making our shift when that happened. But I did have a very close friend, her name was Anna, and she passed away very suddenly at 32. and when that happened, I was like, “Oh my gosh, like life is not guaranteed to us.” And you know, she was very unhappy in her work life, and it broke my heart, and I was like committed. you know, I’m like I’m going to help her like we’re going to get to the other side together, both of us through this; and that just didn’t end up happening.
And she didn’t get that chance to live the life of joy and happiness that she wanted to and have a fulfilling career.
And I just think, like I mean no matter what it is, whether it’s your relationship or your career or you know, your health; life is really too short for us to be unhappy doing what we’re doing day in and day out, and a lot of that comes to, you know, down to our choices that we’re making and the thoughts we’re telling ourselves.
But that was a big that was a big turning point for me, yeah?
Gail: Right, you know, for me, I’ve learned to pay attention to those messages that may not be directly at me, but they’re being presented to me, right?
So, then you decided to walk away from the beds and mattresses and move into this role as an entrepreneur. Is that when you first actually created, She Built This right away?
Emily: OK, so that actually so She Built This came from an event, we just had heard the podcast How I Built This, I think it’s called, and I was like, “this would be fantastic if we took New Hampshire entrepreneurs and like heard their stories of leadership and the struggles they’ve gone through.” And so, my friend Kristen and I put together this event and I think we expected you know, like yeah, we’ll be lucky if 80 people show up and there were 155 women there. The energy in the room was like I, I mean, like nothing you’ve ever felt and I’m like. “This is something like we all want to come together and build each other up and cheer each other on and go through this journey together.”
So, then that’s when I created it. It just started as a Facebook group, you know, and it’s built into such a community, that’s like people are intertwined with one another and building business, but also building relationships outside of that.
So, so that’s how it started.
But I at the same time sort of like I went and got my real estate license thinking that’s that would be like a thing that I wanted to do.
Gail: Oh, so fulfilling, right?
Emily: Yeah well, I quickly realized it’s just not my personality, it doesn’t work for my personality, like I don’t really like to be on the go and that’s an entirely on the go job. I like things to be very certain and you know. Routine and things like that, and it’s just the opposite.
So, I took the whole course and got my license and then I was like, “I don’t think this is for me.”
But what it did do was launch me into what I’m doing now, because I joined a real estate team. and they had me doing like their social media posts and so and they paid me. I think it was I mean it was pennies. It was like 100 bucks a month, you know.
Yeah, it was terrible.
I had to do social media posts for them, and I did it for a couple other people and I would help them with their content for their blogs and stuff.
So that’s kind of how I started.
And I started branding myself as a virtual assistant, which like I’m still working to unwind from some people heads. I’m like, no, I do not want that title for me, right?
You know, just in what I’ve progressed into but…
Gail: That’s not what you do really.
Emily: Right, right, right so, but it’s taken me two years to really solidify that content, you know, the content for those things is what I want to be focusing on, not even the social media aspect because I don’t love social media.
Gail: I have a love hate relationship with it, right?
Emily: Yeah, it’s so good, it’s so bad, right?
Gail: Oh, I know. I mean, every once in a while, I think that’s, “ I’m getting off.” it’s like. “No, you’re really not, you’ll be back.”
So, She Built This went through a transition last year. I know I was attending the event that you had planned, and you turned it into what, uh, an online pajama party or something. It was really very creative.
Emily: Oh, thank you.
Gail: Really cool, right? So, talk a little bit about pivoting last year.
Emily: Yeah, it’s been, I mean, it’s been challenging because I don’t love online events and we’re all being so so bombarded with them. But the Pajama party was I kind of got lucky because I was like one of the first people to do that in our world, you know?
Gail: Right, Right?
Emily: So, what I did around it is I created a group around the event so that it kind of built-up excitement like the whole week before and people could network.
I mean you can’t network like you’re networking in person, but at least you could network and connect more deeply as a group you know.
So then yeah, we had to pivot that one and this whole year has just been like I’ve done so many online events now and they feel, you know, they feel scary when you’re putting it together. I’m like, “Oh is this one going to work?” But I think it’s been a really good learning lesson.
I can say that I cannot wait to do it in person again like that is really. There’s just something about an online event that you can’t match the energy, you know.
Gail: Well, you know I’m so, I’m a hugger, so you can imagine feeling a little deprived right? And I am getting the vaccination just so people feel comfortable with me hugging them, right?
And I am looking forward to the first person that I hang on to and I don’t let them go.
Emily: Yeah, right? I know I think we, I mean like, I don’t know about you, but I guess I’ve taken for granted this whole like it’s been an entire year since we’ve really felt comfortable doing those kinds of things. I mean, I’ve hugged my friends, but we’re both wearing masks and it’s like quick, like yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.
Gail: Right and it goes away right right? It’s like little Pat, right? And yeah, it’s still not the same; and I’m very I’m very thankful for those places that I can go to where I don’t have to have a mask on because there’s distancing and you know the sanitation is, you know beyond what’s necessary; so that I can at least hold conversations with people face to face. And during the whole quarantine, it wasn’t really a quarantine, it was self-quarantine, I still met people outside at picnic benches, and right I still went and did that personal contact.
But through all of this and we talk about feeling, feeling worthy, feeling like you deserve what it is you’re going for.
So, for me I’ve got a podcast coming out, obviously right, and I question, you know, through this whole process, am I good enough?
Do I have the right people that I’m interviewing?
The subject matter is it anything that really interests folks.
I’ve surveyed people, I’ve quantified their responses, and you know, queued it all up and you know, I’ve done all of the market research I can to be sure that what I want to do is something that people want to hear.
But still, am I ready to pull the trigger, right?
I’ve sent my email out this week that says hey, it’s coming and come and am I good enough and that is not gender specific, it happens to men in women, but talk a little bit about your experience with this evil thing.
Emily: Well, it’s funny, I want to read you a quote.
I actually haven’t turned my quote thing over to today yet, so yesterday’s was “Never give up for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn,” and that’s Harriet Beecher Stowe. And I love that because it’s so true like right when you get on the cusp of something you’re about to dive all into.
You want to tap on the brakes, like furiously, and you’re coming up against all sorts of things you know. Sometimes it’s not feeling good enough. Sometimes it’s like I’m not an expert yet, I need to go take another course. Sometimes it’s well, this person is already doing that, and so why would I bother putting out the same thing that they’re putting out?
So, these two topics are kind of separate, but first and foremost like you can, you should and it’s great to research, but that doesn’t make you worthy of your dream. It doesn’t make you worthy or less worthy. If it fails, you know, I think that was something like pretty big with the first business is I’m like, “OK. Everybody knew me as this person and now I’ve basically failed as this person.”
But does that mean I’m a failure?
And does that mean I’m going to fail at the next thing?
No, I mean no, so I think just disconnecting yourself from like being so intertwined in your worthiness, having anything to do with the results because they’re just two completely different things.
Gail: Right, and what’s so interesting when I first started and as an entrepreneur… I was a successful businessperson, right. I knew how to manage a department and grow a business, and you know, take complex projects, and make them happen. That has nothing to do with being an entrepreneur, right?
Because there was never a failure in in that process. There really never was a failure because there was always enough resources to pull it out.
And as an entrepreneur, when I started, I had coaches for everything and network marketing coach marketing coach, you know, personal marketing, coach communication coach right the whole nine yards, and I had funnel processes and you know I used Infusionsoft which was the best on the market, and I spent thousands of dollars; launched. And bombed.
And it I was devastated, and I had to sit back and say, OK so.what was going on here that I bombed?
Now fortunately my coaching was doing OK, but I had wanted to grow it so I still, you know, knew that: OK, so you’re a good coach, that’s still working. But I realized that it was not me in particular.
It was me not being me.
Emily: Yeah, yeah, that’s a great point.
Gail: And so, how can our listeners feel comfortable with being who they are and know that failure is really a lesson?
I want to change that where I want to shoot that word out of the English language, right?
That it’s a growth opportunity.
And sometimes expensive and sometimes timely.
Emily: When I was in high school, it was probably the best, uh, class I ever took, I don’t even remember what the actual class was, but we had to read the book, Failing Forward, I think it’s by John Maxwell, so we read this book Failing Forward and had to pull out all of the lessons in that book.
And I kid you not, when that first business, when we closed the doors of that first business, like I went back to all of those principles and like, “what am I doing even with the real estate license?”
You know, I tried it and I’m like, “Nope, that’s not for me.”
And it’s just like, “how can I use this as a lesson to go forward?”
And I guess I would venture to say that you can even draw on experiences in the past, like you were saying that from your working life.
You didn’t experience failure in the same way, but you built up all of these muscles that you can use when you are facing failure, you know.
And so, we’re doing that all the time like we are building up a resiliency for that.
However, I think the other important thing is not to mentally set yourself up at the beginning, thinking that you’re going to fail. You know, like act as if you are going to succeed, because that’s the best possible mindset you could have going in.
Emily: Hope I answered your question.
Gail: Well, you know good enough. Right and yeah, so the mindset of success.
First of all, I don’t think anybody takes that first step without believing that they will succeed, right?
Many people don’t take the first step though, because they don’t believe, they think of all of the reasons why not, right?
It’s the second step, right?
So, you take the first step and like, OK, that’s pretty solid ground.
Will the second step be as solid as the first step, right?
So, my first business was called Take The Next Step, because that’s us. Let’s just take one step, right?
OK, let’s stop you’re OK.
You didn’t die, cool.
What’s the next step?
Let’s take the next step, right?
As a gradual pushing forward to where you want to go.
For some of my clients, and I know I mentioned this in one of my other podcasts, but it was it’s such a powerful story that I will probably tell it over and over again.:
I have a client who is literally a manifester. She is able to create. Great great!
But when it’s time to pull the trigger, she backs off every single time.
Every single time, and I have literally said, “look at we’re on the edge like you said, ready to jump and this is going to be the best trip ever. I’ve got your hand. We’re doing it together. There’s nothing but success ahead.”
And then you know she’s all of a sudden working on a different project.
And so, it’s getting into that fear that is so deep seeded and for some of us, so far back and so intertwined in our upbringing that we don’t even realize that it’s there.
Emily: Have you read the big leap?
Gail: No. Oh, is that next book I need to put on my reading list?
Emily: I mean it, there is also such a thing as a fear of success and people have a lot of different reasons for it. It might be a parent looking down on you because you’re successful or you’re afraid of what will happen in your life if you have too much money.
So, you know there’s a fear of failure, and that’s very, very real, and it could stop you, but so can a fear of success.
So, it would be interesting, I mean, I don’t know this person personally, but it would be interesting to see if what is truly behind, what’s stopping.
Gail: Right? So, the fair success, I have a small podcast that I did on that and it’s really, really interesting because the first time I realized I had that fear to deal with, I used to crew for motivational speakers, and I was at this huge event and when you have exercises you need, like an even number of people in that group, and an even number right?
So, when a group needs someone, the crew steps in. So, I stepped in on this exercise and the exercise was about what’s holding you back, right?
And I wrote down, I’m afraid to lose my friends.
And I didn’t realize consciously that that was already going on.
And so, the presenter is like, “OK, so who wants to share?”
I’ll share anything.
And I said, yeah. I’m afraid I’m going to leave people behind.
He’s, “so you have the fear of success.”.
And I went “no.”
He said, “Oh yes you do. because you will leave people behind,” and I have.
You know I’m not what I used to be, and we don’t speak the same language anymore.
But I’ve learned is to think that’s OK, right? Because that created space for new and amazing people that do speak my language now to come in, right?
So, it’s not a disrespect to them. It’s not a destruction of a relationship, it’s just a natural evolution and an ending of a relationship, and that’s healthy.
So, yes, you’re right.
Fear of success, maybe I should go back and reexamine whether or not fear of success might be what the issue is.
She’s working on a project now with more than one person and I think because it’s a team she’ll move forward for the team.
So, let’s see what’s happening there.
Emily: Maybe that maybe that’s her secret work around.
Gail: That’s fine as long experiences success because she’s amazing. Just absolutely amazing.
So, one of the things that you talked about was resilience during our conversation. So, talk a little bit if you will a little bit deeper about what that looks like to you as far as being I call it the bounce back, being able to bounce back, right?
Emily: So, sometimes it looks like having a big old pity party after you fail at something and letting yourself wallow in those feelings and really feel those feelings.
And then when you’re done doing that.
It’s picking yourself back up and like you know, sometimes it’s a complete 180 that you have to do, and sometimes it’s, “How can I try this again differently?”
So, I think it’s resilience to me. If something doesn’t go how you hoped, it’s asking yourself the questions of why and what.
What can I be doing instead, either better or different or you know, it could be entirely different in some cases?
But yeah, I think I am a very perseverant person, so, you know, obviously this is entrepreneurship is kind of like a little bit of a roller coaster and so, I have these down days, yeah?
Gail: Very much a roller coaster.
Emily: Right when I’m like I just want to throw in the towel and let go.
Another thing that I think helps in my resiliency toolbox is having really quality people around me that believe in what I’m doing and me being able to openly share those moments with them when they come up and then they can, like you know, we take turns like one day they’re having a bad day and I’m like come on, we got this, we got this.:
And another day I am, and they can just help you like dust yourself off, put on clearer glasses that give you a clearer picture of what’s really going on, because sometimes it’s just mental stuff that we’re battling or emotional stuff and not accurately seeing something for what it is and then carry on, you know?
Gail: Yeah. And then carry on. So, what happens with me, what I do is when this comes from corporate, you know, I ran very high-level projects for big companies and I was always very specific with the first thing, “what’s the purpose?” What are we doing here?
And if the purpose wasn’t clear, I would spend a lot of time, before building a team or anything, on why are we doing this, right?
Because I was taught that that’s your guiding light and you can do anything if you know why.
And if you are thrown off track, which is what being an entrepreneur is, there is no track, right?
And there is no road map, you go by your gut.
But if you have the guiding light, you can always sit back and say,” is that crystal clear enough?”
Right, and does that resonate with me?
Did I create a purpose that matters enough that I can find the right road to get there?
It doesn’t matter how, you know, and that’s a little Simon Sinek (adore the man.).
But it really is so, so true. Because that transcends anything?
Emily: Right, and sometimes your “Why” is just because you need to, uh, you know, be able to put food on the table for your family and so and that’s a great why, you know.
Gail: That sounds very compelling.
Emily: Every single time, I totally agree with you that staying focused on that why, no matter what it is, is really helpful for staying resilient.
Gail: Absolutely, so, uh, so quick little story for me.
Going way back when my daughter was about a year and a half, I left my husband, and I went on welfare because I had to, I wasn’t working, I had nothing.
I looked at her and looked at how we would be living and said yeah, this is not going to happen.
And I went back to work with the purpose of creating a better life for her.
And it cost me, I made more money on welfare than working because I had to pay childcare.
Had to do transportation, right?
No longer had food stamps, right?
The whole nine yards.
But within a year I was buying my own home.
Within two years I was managing at Mass Teachers Association.
I was making very good money, right.
That would not have happened staying on welfare. But she was my guiding light right that she was not going to grow up in this kind of environment, that I was going to give her more than what this opportunity was presenting to me.
So yeah, it absolutely putting food on the table and a roof over our head that we could be proud of, right?
Emily: And I guess just tying it back to the worthiness theme like we are worthy of being able to set into motion what we want to set into motion and so that can be part of your why too is why?
Emily: Because I am worthy to have this dream and to pursue this dream.
Gail: Right, right?
And everybody is right.
I look forward to the time… where everybody can express their worthiness, right?
That there is freedom around the world for people to execute what’s important to them.
To achieve a life of love and happiness.
Because that’s what else is there without that, right?
…All the money in the world isn’t going to isn’t going to buy that. You know, but I will tell you, it does buy you lots of fun.
Emily: I wouldn’t know yet, Gail.
Gail: Gosh, I mean I, I really you know when I was in corporate and I do fine now, but man in corporate…My husband was a pilot, so we would rent a plane and fly to Martha’s Vineyard to go swimming for the day and fly back, yeah?
Emily: Fun fair.
Gail: Like what do you want to do today?
I don’t know. It’s beautiful.
I want to go swimming.
Sure, let’s rent a plane go.
Right very very decadent but lots and lots and lots of fun and freedom and that’s another thing that maybe that would be another podcast.
Maybe I’ll do something on money because money is just a tool.to freedom and you can have real freedom without a lot of money. Right, it just depends on what your desires are and what it is that you want to do, and it is something that we all adjust to very, very easily right?
I knew as a manager that I can give someone a raise and that would make them happy for about 2 weeks and I had 50 other weeks that I had to deal with.
As you know, as motivation and inspiration for people to want to be in the desk sitting, you know when it was beautiful out. It’s sitting in the office and grinding the day out.
I had to make it worthwhile for them, right?
And that’s not easy to do.
And if it’s not motivation it borders on manipulation.
And I argued with an HR rep one time about the difference between motivation and manipulation, because I felt what he was teaching and what he was propelling was manipulative manipulation and I was into motivation.
It’s just, you know carrot/stick, I’m not going to do that.
But I’m going to make it so that when you come into work you feel safe, you feel comfortable, you feel that you can be creative. Right, they have the flexibility to get your job done in your way.
As long as you get the job done right.
Emily: Yeah, motivation.
I think you’re right; it’s really about seeing the person for who they are and what they’re striving for and helping them to achieve those goals rather than manipulation.
That is just about control by you and your desires.
Gail: Right exactly so yeah. Well, we could be doing a few other podcasting everything going on.
The point being and then the purpose of this kind of conversation is folks you know, whatever it is that you want to achieve, not necessarily as an entrepreneur, because there’s lots to achieve in corporate as long as you know who you are?
You know what your values are.
You know what you want out of life and that those are not being compromised in the role that you’re playing.
Right, the second that they’re compromised you need to reevaluate where you are and where you’re going, right?
It’s like you with that first job.
Emily: And it might be something as simple as changing your role in an organization or just feeling comfortable to ask for what you need.
So sometimes it’s not always, you know, you don’t have to burn everything down, right?
Sometimes it’s just making a little tiny shift and being able to ask for what you need that gets you. closer to living that.
Gail: Or even being clear.
I had a client that came to me, “I’m invisible, I’m going to leave my job. I’m going to leave my kids I’m going to leave my husband.” and I’m like, “well not at first.” right?
You can leave your job once we solve the problem that’s going on right now.
Once that’s solved, then we can discuss leaving the job.
It’s a little bizarre what we did, but within two weeks she sent me an email.
“My boss wants me to help him build his next empire.”
She went from feeling invisible to her boss wanting her.
So, she did not leave that job.
Gail: And it was all about her own perception. In her own feeling of worthiness right and feeling empowered and then giving off that energy so people could see who she was.
And that of course affected her relationships and we worked on the family and the husband relationship, and they’re still together.
And here we are years later, so that’s fine, and she’s doing amazing, right?
And so, yes, you’re right, you know when there is an out of balance you need to sit back, “So what’s this small shift?” I’m not big, like I said, take the next step, I’m not big on big changes because that creates chaos that sometimes puts us in a spiral.
It may shoot you up, but then you’re going to spiral down, right?
I’m all about, uh, consistently moving towards an objective and a positive, energetic way, right as you are.
Folks, we will have information at the end where Emily is going to tell you how to get in touch with her.
You need to be part of her group.
It’s absolutely amazing you need to go to her event the next time that it’s up.
Doesn’t matter where you are.
Yes, she’s in New Hampshire, but what she does or not is not local flavor.
What she does transcends for sure.
And she is remarkable.
I can tell you how, did I hear about you? I think everywhere I turned when I moved to New Hampshire is like you need to go to Emily’s event. You need to talk Emily; it was like yeah yeah yeah OK OK.
OK, right and then I did sign up for the event and then got to know you a little bit through your communications on Facebook and it’s just amazing.
Emily: Well, thank you.
Gail: So, tell us Emily a little bit more about She Built This and your online presence and then how people can connect with you if they so want to.
Emily: OK, and I just want to really quickly touch back on what you were saying about taking small steps.
That’s like somebody right now in our group is going through a big transition and everybody is saying the same thing, you know, like just one thing at a time.
Like let’s make a plan.
And you know, Gail and I talked about this before we started recording, so sometimes your plans, you don’t follow them to perfection, but having a plan taking small steps and not like just lighting everything on fire.
That that’s truly, I think, the way I mean, that’s how we achieve most things.
So alright, so on that note, the group is open, it’s free and open for all.
However, I have a paid community also, we do workshops every month and those people get visibility into the main group, which is like you know, 1300 people. So, you’re really getting the opportunity to put yourself in front of all of those people so that you can learn about either one free or paid at shebuiltthis.org, and that’s probably the easiest way to just easily find everything as far as me. But on Instagram it’s she builtthisgroup and on Facebook it’s just shebuiltthis.
Gail: Emily, thank you so so much for your time and for sharing your story and just having an honest conversation with me which is so refreshing.
Emily: Thank you, thanks for having me. Thank you so much.
Gail: It’s great.
Thank you and everybody. Thank you so much for listening to us.
This is the Empowering Process Podcast. If you like this, please go ahead and like the episode, share it if you know somebody who might benefit from this, let them know with comments below. We’re here for you.
Thank you again. Emily bye bye everyone.Emily: Thank you bye.